FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles

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Blue check.png This page documents a guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that contributors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense and the occasional exception.

Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
 We need your help! Below is a style guide to assist you in editing and authoring desciptions of wiki articles that describe FamilySearch digital collections.

Some style notes:

FamilySearch Collections are currently found in the Record Search pilot site and in the new version of, known as fsbeta. 
 The collections are entitled "Record Search" in the pilot site, but "Historical Collections" in fsbeta.

Wiki articles that are created to describe FamilySearch Collections are written to assist wiki users who may or may not be genealogical experts. The articles should be written in a basic languge style, using simple words. Descriptions of each section of a Family Search Collection are listed below. With the exception of the title, the headers represent the format used by the User Guidance Unit to create wiki articles.


The title of the wiki article reflects the title of the collection(s) in Record Search.

Include in the title:

The name of the locality, beginning with the largest jurisdiction and ending with the smallest jurisdiction. Country names should be listed, with the exception of the United States and Canada. Example: Nicaragua, Managua Department Civil Registration Records.

Dates are only added for census records. Example: Florida State 1885 Census

Record type and name of the denomination or specific religious organization. Examples: Illinois Belleville Catholic Church Records. British Columbia Births

Add the phrase (FamilySearch Historical Records) to the end of the title in parenthesis. Example: England, Durham Diocese Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records). This phrase distinguishes articles that describe specific Record Search/Historical Collections from other wiki articles.

FamilySearch Collection Template

Members of the User Guidance Unit will add the required Collection Identification number to the FamilySearch Collection Template: {{FamilySearch Collection}}. The template brands the article as describing a collection from the FamilySearch website and creates links to digital collections. The template format allows for up to 9 collection links.

Foreign Language Title

List the title of the collection in the language of the records.

Collection Time Period

Describe the dates covered by the collection.

How to Use the Record

Explain to wiki users how the records can be used to help them find out more about their ancestors. Describe research strategies that are helpful when dealing with the collection. Explain what the next step would generally be in order to follow on the information obtained in the collection. If describing an index, describe how to find the records that were indexed in the collection. 

 Record Description

Describe the physical state of the originals, including:

water damage
torn pages
fire damage

Describe the record types included in the collection, the language of the record's text and the format used in the records.

Record Content

This section includes sub-headers in bold text for the major record types found within the collection. A phrase similar to "Most (record type) contain the following important genealogical facts, such as:" This phrase should be followed by the significant genealogical data found in the records, usually in the form of a bulleted list. Some collections contain several types of records and may need a list for each record type.

Sample Images

Samples of images from the collection will be added to this section in galleries. Foreign language images may include callouts of major phrases in the document or a translation of the document. Images should be placed above or next to the record content section.

Record History

Describe the history of the records, which might include the processes, creation an disposition of the records.  Relate information about a set of records, localities, jurisdictions, and religious or ethnic groups. The history of the collection itself can also be described in this section of the article.

Why this Record Was Created

This section should explain the original intent of the creation of a specific collection.

Record Reliability

Describe how reliable a collection is and whether there are known issues with the accuracy or the collection.

 Related Web Sites:

List websites outside of the wiki that contain information related to the collection being described. Addresses and other information about an archive or other site could be added to this section of the wiki article as well.

A sentence is input into this section by the User Guidance Unit to encourage wiki users to add helpful wiki sites. If you feel that the correct websites have been added, feel free to delete the sentence, which reads:

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.

Related Wiki Articles:

Create internal links to wiki articles that contain information that is related to the collection being described.


We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Contributor Invite Template

Please add the Contributor invite template to encourage wiki user participation.

Style Guide Link

Please add a link to this guidelines wiki article. Use the phrase “FamilySearch Wiki:Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages” for the link, after the phrase : For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see:
(Normal text)
For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see: FamilySearch Wiki:Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages

Sources of Information for This Collection:

To assist wiki patrons with making citations that describe their findings, the User Guidance unit will create a bibliographic source citation that describes the digital collection in this section of the wiki article.  Input a source citation in normal text font for the collection.

Additionally, please add this plea for assistance in creating citations for individual archives for supercollections:

(Normal text)
We welcome your assistance in adding source citation information for individual archives when collection data was collected from various sources or archives. The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection:

We are encouraging wiki users to add sample citations to the articles. Please post this text in Normal font:
Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Please add the following examples to the article:

Examples of citations:
(Normal text with bullets):

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet ( September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71.
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet ( April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023.